Addis Ababa — The European Union (EU) on Monday donated 60 million Euros worth of COVID-19 medical supplies to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member countries.
According to the EU in Ethiopia, the donation is part of the EU's 2.5 billion birr (60 million euros) package to support IGAD member states to tackle the health and socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The medical supplies include 3.5 million surgical masks, 35,000 face shields and 7,000 protective gowns.
The total number of items delivered on Monday amounts to approximately 60 percent of the total items provided under the project, which further include 70,000 test kits (including 105,000 swabs), 8 mobile labs and 24 ambulances.
The remaining items will be arriving in subsequent weeks, the European Union in Ethiopia disclosed.
The donation will benefit Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Soudan, South Sudan and Uganda.
EU Head of Delegation to Ethiopia, Ambassador Johan Borgstam said the supplies will be crucial in supporting vulnerable groups including migrants, refugees, and Internally Displaced Persons to reduce the impact of the pandemic.
The EU and its member states have already contributed more than 17 billion birr (465 million euros) to Ethiopia's fight against COVID-19, said ambassador Borgstam.
The handing over ceremony took place here in Addis Ababa in the presence of Minister of Health, Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gedu Andargachew and the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Workneh Gebeyehu.
Gedu on the occasion thanked the European Union for its support in the fight against COVID-19 adding that "today's donation manifests EU's commitment to support the East African region."
IGAD Executive Secretary, Workneh Gebeyehu, on his part said the support is significant as the number of people infected with coronavirus is increasing in the region.
Health Minister, Lia Tadese said her government is working with stakeholders to prevent the spread of the virus, and assured that Ethiopia will use the donated medical supplies properly.